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In spite of the legal use for marijuana in 23 states and Washington DC, whether that is medicinal or recreational, studies still show that employers have zero-tolerance policies in place on the job.

What kind of implication does marijuana legalization have on the workplace and how to enforce a drug-free environment among employees?

Much like alcohol, while the use of marijuana may be legal it does impair judgement and can be regulated by employers while an employee is working. Let’s take a closer look at the way things are changing.

94% of Companies Have a Formal Substance Abuse Policy

Even in states where recreational use is legal, most companies still have a zero tolerance policy regarding the use of marijuana while working. Most cite that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Even with the addition of state laws, the concern is still valid for many companies.

Significant Violations of Over 10 times

A surprising one-third of companies in a recent Society for Human Resources Management survey indicated that employees had violated their marijuana use policy. 4% said that the violations had occurred over 10 times and was a major cause for concern. Companies are rightly worried about how increased used of the drug will impact performance.

Organizations Do Pre-Employment Drug Resting

The survey also indicated that almost half of the participating companies conduct pre-employment drug testing and the offers are contingent on the results. Others said that they will test an employee if they notice behaviors that indicate potential use or may conduct random drug screenings.

Modified Policies for Areas with Recreational Use

In states with medicinal marijuana laws, approximately 11% of companies said they would make exceptions but some restrictions might apply to these employees. Otherwise, employers in states with recreational marijuana laws are still not likely to hire someone who tests positive for the substance. In fact, companies in places where recreational use is legal have stricter hiring policies than counterparts in states where only medical marijuana use is legal.

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